Editorial: A walkout, and a safe pair of hands

Lindsay Boswell's resignation from the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy's advisory board is bold and positive, writes Stephen Cook

Stephen Cook, editor, Third Sector
Stephen Cook, editor, Third Sector

You can walk out and sulk, or you can walk out and do something about your grievances. The chief executive of the Institute of Fundraising, to his credit, has done the latter.

For what seems like ages, he and his allies in the fundraising world have complained that the Centre for Charitable Giving and Philanthropy seems unwilling to undertake projects that will be of practical value to fundraisers. But it has become abundantly clear that the centre isn't going to be diverted from its agenda of academic research - the pursuit of knowledge for its own sake, which might or might not be of use to those at the coalface.

So Lindsay Boswell has resigned from the group that advises the centre and announced that he and colleagues will set up a new organisation at the institute that will research fundraising behaviour and donor motivation. A crucial aspect of this will be how it is funded, of course, but it is a bold and potentially fruitful way out of the impasse.

Would you have applied for the job of director general of the Office of the Third Sector at the present time? There's an election coming up, with all the uncertainty that entails, and there are no guarantees about the future status and location of the OTS, which has always been seen by some Whitehall traditionalists as a cuckoo in the elite Cabinet Office nest.

It's a fair bet that some good candidates shied away from the job and that the number of suitable applications was fairly limited. All this might explain the appointment, on loan from her present job and for one year only, of Rolande Anderson, an evidently capable and high-flying all-round civil servant.

Trade and Industry? Done that. National Statistics? In the bag. OTS? Sure - she can do that too. It rather looks as if the job has been parked in a safe pair of hands pending further developments.

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